1860s Huge Orange Cage Crinoline

The next piece (after the corset) I needed to make for my sisters 1860s evening attire was the crinoline.

And since I’ve been wanted to make one for quite some time, and already had the pattern, I just needed to decide on fabric and get started.Using “Truly Victorian” 1865 Elliptical Cage Crinoline pattern

Since I wanted to use as much of my stash as possible for this whole project (both corset and dress material are basically all from stash) I went diving in my fabric bins and came out with an unexpected (very) Orange cotton sheet that wold work.
 All pieces cut and ready

The pattern was really easy to follow, and I was so happy that I didn’t need to do any calculations what so ever on this one (as opposed to my 1850s self drafted crinoline). I did however need to use all my brain-cells and keep the concentration high when trying to get all the noted measurements and markings right.

The fabric I had was almost enough, and once all the pieces and ribbons was cut, all I had left was shreds, and I still needed some fabric to enclose the free hanging bones. this was all that remained

I contemplated getting another 5 dollar sheet, but decided on the easier (but way more expensive) alternative and bought the 15 m or so bias tape needed to cover the bones/hoops.

For boning I used metal pipe cleaners sold on rolls of 7,5 m at the local hardware-store.

I spent a full evening measuring, cutting, encasing and taping the bones to make them into neat bias covered hoops.

bias tape stitched and ready for the hoops

taping the edges together

After stitching the bottom “bag”, attaching all the vertical ribbons, making the belt and stitching the back “crescent”, it was time to get the hoops attached.  the 4 stages of making the fabric tubes

belt and cresent attached
and the bottom bag attached

The working was slow (but not difficult), and I loved watching the whole piece come together by pinning on one row of hoops after the other, matching all the pre-made markings.
late night work

slowly getting there

Once all the hoops was pinned to their mark, it was time to make the final adjustments to get everything to hang/sit smoothly and evenly.

much better
I’m not sure if it was my markings/measurements (probably) or some error in the pattern but It did needed quite a lot adjustments.

Lastly I spent two whole nights hand stitching the hoops to the ribbons.

To be sure I made everything correctly, and not made any foolish mistakes or own inventions, I used the sewing instructions quite a lot, referring back to them before, during and after each step. This made the work go slower, as it always does when working on something new and unfamiliar, but I do think it turned great.

The crinoline was awesomely big and that meant I couldn’t fit in my small sewing room, but needed to work in our loving room. Which also meant I couldn’t close the door but was forced to pack everything away as soon as the baby awoke (about 3 times a day).

It took me bout a week of 1-3 st 40-90 minutes intense work-sessions to get the crinoline done.

The finished Crinoline:

The Facts:

What: A 1860s Hoop Crinoline

Pattern: Truly Victorian (TV103) 1865s Elliptical Cage Crinoline

Fabric & Notions: 1 orange cotton sheet (about 2,5 m fabric), about 15 m of brown bias tape, tread, 1 belt buckle, 1 m of interfacing for the belt, about 21 m of hoop wire, duck-tape, 4 m of cotton sting. I also needed heavy pliers, strong fingers and lots of patients.

Time & Cost: The total time was maybe 10-15 hours and I guesstimate the material to about 400 Sek (40Usd).

Final Thoughs: I love it! It so ridiculously big and orange. And it looks gorgeous under my sisters evening skirts.
The pattern was easy to work with (even for one not used to the inch measurements), but I don’t think I’ll willingly do another one for a loooong time…

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6 thoughts on “1860s Huge Orange Cage Crinoline

  1. That looks so good! You really make me want to give this a shot.

    How hard was it to cut the pipe cleaners? They look like a great substitute for hoop wire.

    • Thanks!
      You definitely should, Its not the most “inspiring” work but it does a tremendous difference under the skirt.
      Not that hard actually. with a heavy duty pliers they snap right of. You do however need to tape the edges carefully and also wipe the metal with some paper/rag to get rid of the small amount of oil that’s covering the pipe cleaners.

  2. Wow you did a fantastic job of this. Love the color. Your sister is pretty lucky. Now to make one for yourself which should go much faster the second time around. Great job.

    • yeah, I keep telling her that 😉
      Actually i’m keeping this crinoline for myself, and she can borrow it when she need one – that way I hopefully can get away without an other one for quite some time 🙂

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